11/21/2017

Asian American Action Fund Outraged over Trump Cancellation of DACA

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Program Granting Work Permits to Immigrant Youth to End in Six Months

The board of the Asian American Action Fund is united in its outrage over President Trump’s proposal to end the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which permits undocumented minors and young adults up to the age of 26 to come out of the shadows, apply for college and graduate studies, and hold work permits.
DACA recipients are our friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers. According to the Center for American Progress, there are 18,000 AAPIs who applied for DACA status. DACA recipients are serving in the military, as frontline healthcare workers, and as educators. They were brought to America by their parents and this is the only home they have ever known. Because of President Obama’s vision and leadership, many of these children are on their way to fulfilling their potential and becoming productive members of society.
President Trump’s decision to end DACA puts an end to the dreams of the hundreds of thousands of children who received DACA status. More disturbingly, it puts these young Americans, who were brave enough to come out of the shadows, in legal jeopardy, as the government knows their immigration status and where they live.
AAA Fund vehemently disagrees with President Trump’s cruel decision to end DACA and looks to Congress for answers and relief. We promise to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions and treatment of the most vulnerable Americans.

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The Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is a Democratic Asian American and Pacific Islander PAC founded in 1999. AAAFund’s goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in every level of local, state and federal government in the United States.



After the flood, rebuilding

There is the moment and moments, or the days and weeks of fire or water or manmade disaster. In that time, in my experience, many people behave admirably and humanity shines. Everyday people become outstanding heroes. They bear the loss of electricity and water remarkably well. It’s the aftermath, the time long after the flood lights and news cameras leave. (In Ferguson, on Canfield Lane, one of Mike Brown’s neighbors told me that she had a hard time sleeping because the press was always there.) It is the future time that reasonable people look forward to and are full of hope that they can expect to be normal and whole again, except that the situation is still different, and there are still holes. The walls of your home are still moldy, and you can’t just patch them up but you still have to live there.

Many people are fortunate to not know how long it takes to rebuild after a storm.

In the moment of Sandy, first responders and medical providers carried babies and patients down 20 flights of stairs. They didn’t and couldn’t carry all the laboratory mice who were being used in potentially life-saving cancer research. They couldn’t take the specimens that scientists had been working on for years. We talk about the lives that were lost, the homes and property that was damaged, but no one thinks about the lives that could have been saved from the decades and hundreds of millions of dollars of research. Many of those primary investigators left.

It was the months and year afterwards, where they couldn’t even see patients, and had to rotate at other hospitals. So the patients flowed, conceivably, or maybe just didn’t show up and prolonged what might have been treatable diseases had they caught them earlier. Stacking the health care safety net system is like stacking the initial rows of cannonballs or molecules. How you place them, what shape, what geometry determines the final shape of the pyramid. That’s how it goes with patient flow.

The photo above is where my husband graduated from residency at NYU Bellevue. The high water mark is 11 feet, taller than any of the graduates or speakers. 5 months later, Hurricane Sandy hit and I was on a campaign in another state. Someone asked me if I was worried for my husband and I said, “He’ll be okay, Bellevue is a fortress and it has backup generators.” And it is and it was. But the backup generators were underground, and they flooded. For a while afterwards, I was slightly obsessed with FEMA.

For all the Congressmembers and Senators who voted no or equivocated and dithered on Hurricane Sandy funding and claimed that the money in the relief package was “pork,” the money was for rebuilding. So that the tri-state area has coastlines with natural defenses against the rising waters due to climate change. As opposed to building houses for low income families or rich people right along the ooast.

Rebuilding and recovering resilience takes a very long time. We should let people go on with their lives, but instead, people who have been lucky to escape with their lives, but who have lost their homes and memories are forced to tabulate everything that they have lost for insurance adjusters. My friend who lost her home in a fire told me, “It felt like reliving the trauma.”

All this is to say, people will be hurting for months if not years after. Their lives will be altered. Limited English proficient folks sometimes get overlooked because they don’t understand how to apply for grants or loans. OCA Houston and AAPI nonprofits have set up an AAPI Harvey Relief Fund. Please give.

DNC AAPI Caucus: Small Business Edition

2016 Democratic National Convention

Just before this morning’s DNC AAPI caucus, both the main one and its small business follow-up, the first of which which we live-blogged earlier, Hillary’s campaign released this excellent plan which does the research and policy work that no non-professional wants to do.

Before I summarize that material, however, I discuss why the small business panel is important, why it’s not just some ignoreable meeting for party insiders. So much anger and Drumpfing is thanks to anger at everything: at the so-called rigged economy (possibly the only thing the 3 remaining candidates all said verbatim), the everything is wrong (see Christie’s speech for a great example of how to blame everything on Hillary ignoring how many problems came from the GOP President Bush 43, but proportionate blame isn’t a Drumpf sales tactic and his voters don’t want it either). Credible good governance requires the traditional good things: good research, all voices heard, good political operation to figure out the sentiment of the people and what votes are realistic and then a well-administered vote in Congress to make the legislation. Of course, this is just at the federal level and I’d say good laws/policies must be made at all levels of government, but let’s focus on the federal just for this post.

Now, for the meat: AAPI small businesses. AAPI political force went from some remote mere idea to an actually organized, networked, and motivated force active in all levels of politics and actively shaping the nation’s laws and direction in all ways (political but also its many arms like boardrooms, councils, think tanks, etc.). Voices include our endorsed candidates and CAPAC members. That said, use that force to help our community’s small businesses because

  • AAPI biz’s grew by 24% 2007 to 2012. Use our political force to not just level the playing field for AAPI small business owners by cutting red tape, accessing capital, relieving taxes, and reducing financing discrimination but also letting AAPIs do all the entrepreneurship they want to. Each pain point is itself a really big goal with tons of organizing and organizations required, but, hey, that’s life.
  • AAPI women earn 86% of white males all things equal, even so for some AAPI demographics (they’re humans not demogrpahics, but I’ve not a more humane term). As the convention theme today of breaking barriers goes, use our political force to break barriers to AAPI female pay equity. #talkpay is a good start.
  • Half of AAPIs graduate from college with debt, over $20,000 for the usual 4-year graduate. Use our political force to enable properly discriminated refinancing (a vastly complex notion, requires some finance details we won’t graze here) and promote the idea/policy of income-based repayment which is possibly too novel for the greedy finance industry which changes very slowly despite that hurting its profitability.
  • Asians are 11% of the 11M undocumented immigrants in this country and 40% of the USCIS backlog. Use our political force for Comprehensive Immigration Reform which almost passed years ago with bipartisan agreement literally just before Sandy Hook took over.

Thanks to the leadership and commitment from a wide tapestry of voices ranging from Sikh Americans to Pacific Islanders – the 2016 campaign is underscoring how Asian Americans are working together to not only seek common ground, but higher ground. Over the past few decades, we’ve worked together to increase the number of voters, candidates, and organizers shaping the direction of our country – but not until now have we seen an inclusive and ambitious platform that will shape not just the identity of the AAPI footprint in national politics, but one that will ensure that we stand up for the rights and opportunities of all of those around. That only happens if we stand up together and stand stronger together.

DNC AAPI Chair Bel Leong-Hong (and a AAAFund Board Member)

AAPI Activism Training – Christine Chen

Christine ChenChristine Chen is the Executive Director of APIAVote and the winner of our 2016 Community Service Award.

Asian Americans Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest-growing population. We can make a big time impact if we mobilize the AAPI vote. Democrats have a 64% favorable rating among AAPI and steadily rising, but a rather large percentage still has no opinion or has never heard of the parties. AAPI may be more likely to vote for candidates rather than along policy lines because they may be less aware of the issues. Foreign-born AAPI are less likely than native-born AAPI to be politically aware.

Personal musing could be an explanation for Trump’s popularity. The aura and myth of his success as a Businessman and how that resonates with the fortune-seeking/American Dream mentality that newer AAPI may have. Read The Great Gatsby to see why the love of money breeds disconnectedness.

Issues about which AAPI care:

  • Education (48%), healthcare (47%), terrorist attack (47%), economy (45%)
  • Surprisingly environment is of least concern (33%)
  • Many fact-sheets out there shows AAPIs do care about certain issues but are not as versed in which political parties stand for which platforms.
  • How can we activate AAPI to think about education and healthcare and why Democrats are better for them?

How did this speech help your Election participation? Comment below and onto our next speaker.

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